An Introduction

The bizarre events leading to the demise of Mr Justice Harbottle have been fitly recounted in a short piece by Mr J. Sheridan Le Fanu of Dublin, which may be familiar to readers. Mr Le Fanu, drawing upon irreproachable sources, variously describes the late Judge Harbottle as, ‘dangerous and unscrupulous,’  ‘a savage old epicurean,’ and, ‘the wickedest man in England’. Death by hanging did not however prove a fatal setback for a man of such parts and mettle as the judge. He continues to keep late nights and to consort with whores and rake-hells, though he is reported to be laid up with the gout somewhat worse and more frequently than before. In his bedridden hours he has taken to reviewing literature and offers his assessments here for the benefit of scholars and laypersons.